A status quo theory of generalized trust: Why trust may reduce the prospects for democratic transition in East Asia

Kai Ping Huang, Paul Schuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Does generalized trust lead to democratic transitions? Despite the voluminous literature on trust and democracy, very little examines the link between trust and democratic regime change. We theorize that generalized trust should lead to support for the status quo rather than support for regime change. In democracies, this means that citizens in effect support the democratic regime. However, in autocracies this status quo bias means that trusting individuals support the autocracy. We test this argument using data from the Asian Barometer Survey. Our simultaneous equation model shows that generalized trust has a negative impact on support for regime change regardless of regime type. This suggests that generalized trust-if anything-constitutes a headwind against democratic regime change rather than a facilitating factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalComparative politics
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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